Elite Eight 1953.
In the 1950s, Notre Dame still played in the Notre Dame Fieldhouse and played a schedule that was heavy on fellow independent and nearby Big Ten schools. The 1950s were essentially the decade that would establish Notre Dame as an independent yet tradition-rich basketball program, led by head coach John Jordan, even if it would be somewhat overshadowed by the football team in decades to come.
In the 1952-1953 season, The Irish played a difficult schedule, losing to second-ranked Kansas State, 10th-ranked DePaul and unranked St. Louis (twice), but made up for those losses with wins over 12th-ranked UCLA, sixth-ranked Holy Cross, 17th-ranked Louisville, and eventual national champion Indiana, capping off the regular season with a win over 15th-ranked DePaul in a rematch.
In the NCAA Tournament, The Irish drew Eastern Kentucky in the first round, and made quick work of the Colonels, 72-57. The Sweet Sixteen was a matchup with the Penn Quakers, who didn’t put up too bad of a fight in a 69-57 loss. The Elite Eight featured a rematch of an early-season game; back on December 6th, the Irish defeated Indiana 71-70. This time around, however, the Hoosiers would exact their revenge, defeating the Irish 79-66. Indiana would go on to win the national championship.
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